The University of Ulster, Coleraine travelled to Lisburn looking for their first win of 2011 but will have to wait another week as they left with a losing bonus point from a very wet and muddy affair.
It was the students who hit the ground running first in the opening exchanges putting Lisburn on the back foot but couldn’t break down the tight Lisburn defence. After a number of attacks from both sides with UUC looking to spread the ball wide and Lisburn looking to their big forwards to crash up in the midfield this was shaping up to be a physical encounter.
With conditions gradually getting worse as the half wore on it was Lisburn’s physicality in the attack that broke the deadlock. A series of pick and go’s and hard running from all angles of the park allowed Lisburn to breach the UUC line and after spreading the ball wide and stretching the student’s defence eventually scored in the corner. The difficult touchline conversion was missed making the score 5-0 to the home side.
The students knew they had to respond if they were to get back into the game and after running Lisburn ragged from side of the pitch to another were awarded a penalty for an infringement at the ruck. UUC opted for the lineout instead of the three points and this decision paid off. With a well drilled catch and drive, the student pack drove Lisburn over their line with John Lutton claiming the try. Gareth Miller missed the difficult touchline conversion.
The second half began just as the first half did with sublime running from UUC winger Calum Rowden and big hits coming in from Martin O’Neill and Andrew Winder. The students were know starting to take control of the game but with the weather not getting any better mistakes started to creep in but even when Lisburn were in control of the ball UUC didn’t let them through. Midway through the second half Lisburn was awarded a penalty for offside at the ruck but to the student’s relief, the kick was missed keeping the score at 5-5.
It was now Lisburn’s turn to repel wave after wave of student attack and a great break by Peter Smith lead to UUC putting some slick handling together and Calum Rowden was denied a try in the corner by a great cover tackle. Lisburn then turned the tables on UUC and worked their way into the student half and were awarded a penalty for offside which was successfully converted to make it 8-5. UUC weren’t for settling for a losing bonus point and threw everything at Lisburn but couldn’t find the weak link in the Lisburn armour. Superb handling by Richard Murphy and David Orr put Rowden in the corner but was denied again, this time by the referee.
The students the camped in the Lisburn half looking for some kind of score but it didn’t come and with a turnover of possession Lisburn cleared their lines and that was it for the students. At the final whistle it was the home side taking maximum points, winning 8-5 in a hard fought match. UUC travel to Ballynahinch seconds in the Conference League looking to once again take the positives from this game.